Arie brings his 'ladies' to Italy for the final dates before hometowns
Credit: ABC
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Do you hear that, rose lovers? It’s Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” and that means two things: Someone on Team Bachelor loves A Room With a View, and we’re in Tuscany, y’all!!! Not only that, it’s the final week before hometown dates. Where does the time go? (In this case, directly out the window.)

Now for some shocking news: There will be no rose ceremony this week! Which, when you think about it, isn’t that shocking because usually by this point we’ve had at least four episodes without rose ceremonies. All the roses will be handed out (or not) on dates, the first of which goes to Becca K.!

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Hey knuckleheads! You’re in the shot!

Arie says he chose Becca for this date because after their first one-on-one about 17 years ago, their relationship has been “stuck,” and he wants to “see if there can be romance” for them. They drive off to the quaint medieval town of Barga for a leisurely stroll and a picturesque picnic. Their conversation hits all the points you’d expect — Becca assures Arie she still feels their connection despite a difficult week in Paris, Arie responds with “I like that” — and then they make out under the Tuscan sun.

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“We found that passion,” gushes Arie. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Jacqueline is feeling anything but passion.

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It seems our Ph.D candidate is starting to absorb the reality of the situation: getting a rose means bringing Arie home to mama. “I don’t think that introducing somebody to my family…. after a date where I had doubts is, like, the right way to go about my relationship,” a tearful Jacqueline tells Kendall. You are correct, honey. It is so rare that a woman on The Bachelor is able to recognize that there’s a difference between wanting something simply because you’ve been told to want it, and wanting it because you actually want it…well, let’s just take a moment to enjoy it, shall we?

[Brief serenity interlude]

And we’re back! Over dinner, Becca gives the Bachelor the rundown of who he’d meet in her hometown — which, by the way, she really, really wants to bring him to because she’s “falling” for him. That’s all Arie needs to hear. “I’m really, really, really hopeful for us,” he reveals. “I’m falling for you.”

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“He’s comin’ to Minnesota!” says Becca, ecstatic. “To get the first rose for hometowns, I’m beyond happy.”

The Jacqueline drama is not over, though. Once Becca returns from her one-on-one, Jacqueline – who “doesn’t trust” herself to make decisions about her own future [brief sadness interlude] — knows she has to talk to Arie about her confusion. “I don’t know what kind of conversation this is going to be,” she says nervously. I do! It’s going to be the kind where you tell him you’re going home to finish your Ph.D.

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“I’m worried I’m going to end up in Scottsdale with you, married, and wonder like, ‘How did I get here?’” Go, gurl, go! Jacqueline assures Arie that there are other “ladies” there more prepared to pack up and head to Arizona with him, and given that, “I don’t know how to stay when that’s the case.” Though the Bachelor tries to change her mind (“I don’t want this to be over,” he whispers), Jacqueline stays strong(ish) and sloooowly extracts herself from his room. Unfortunately, she immediately starts beating herself up about the decision, saying Arie is “perfect in every way” (incorrect) and that she “sucks at being happy” (possible, but fixable). Finally, a tearful Jacqueline makes her way to the Reject SUV… but something tells me she might be lured back for an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico later this summer.

The next day it’s time for Lauren’s second one-on-one date in as many weeks.

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We’re with you, Bekah. Anyhow, they meet in Luca for a bike ride and gelato. “It’s very Italian,” says Lauren of the quaint town. And that’s about the only thing she says for a while… which makes the Bachelor nervous. He tries to bring up hometown visits over pizza later (just writing about this date is making me gain weight), and Lauren admits the idea “freaks me out a little, I’m not gonna lie.” But production cuts their conversation short by bribing a local boy to kick a soccer ball over to Arie and Lauren’s table. The Bachelor’s doubts will have to stay on hold a little longer.

Will Lauren provide him with the “a-ha moment” he needs over dinner? In a shocking twist, the answer is yes. “It’s hard for me to put myself in a place where I feel like I can get hurt again,” says Lauren. But… “It’s very obvious to me that I feel like I’m starting to fall in love with you.” Now it’s time to play “Identify Arie’s Current Emotion”:

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Is he stunned? Happy? Confused? Gassy? It’s really anyone’s guess. For once, Lauren is the one to break the silence. “You seem like you have something to say about that,” she prompts, but instead of answering, Arie gets up and leaves the table. Lauren, of course, feels “very confused” and thinks that maybe she was “too open.” Don’t be silly, Lauren! In fact, the real reason the Bachelor walked away to pace in circles by the bushes is because he’s “falling so deeply in love” with you, too! Hey, what’s that?

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Is Lauren… smiling? This show really is magic. (Recap continues on page 2)

Our final one-on-one date of the week goes to Seinne, and it’s a good one: truffle hunting with a jolly Italian man named Julio! (Is one of his truffle-hunting dogs named Maga? I’m hoping it’s spelled without the hashtag.) In case you were wondering how Team Bachelor was going to wrest a relationship metaphor out of rooting through the dirt for expensive fungus, allow Arie to answer that for you: “I do dig Seinne…. but can I dig deep enough?” Please excuse me while I go set myself on fire.

Julio invites them home for a lunch of fresh pasta, pizza, and nosy questions.

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The food looks so good — both Arie and Seinne actually eat it — I can’t really pay attention to the conversation. But that’s okay, because just a few hours later Arie and Seinne are sitting down for another meal, one they won’t touch because they’ll be too busy talking about hometowns. Seinne is “open” to a “conversation” about moving to Scottsdale, which to me sounds like code for “hell to the no,” but perhaps I’m cynical. It’s also refreshing to hear Seinne admit that she shuts her feelings about him off when they’re not together; whatever happens with Arie, Seinne could teach a class for future contestants called “How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re on The Bachelor by Compartmentalizing.”

As a church bell begins to toll in the background, things between Arie and Seinne get a little awkwardly quiet. “Even though we had an amazing day, and there’s a connection there, something’s off,” Arie tells us. And that’s when he picks up the rose.

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Your loss, Speed Racer!

The last date of the week is teensy-tiny group date, or “three-on-one,” as Chris Harrison called it. Arie meets Kendall, Bekah, and Tia at Villa Royale, a sprawling estate that once belonged to Napoleon’s sister. Because Seinne went home, Arie has two roses to hand out on this date, so use your time wisely, “ladies”! First up is Kendall, who informs Arie that she wouldn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship, so if he picked her she’d probably move to Scottsdale. (“I just want to, like, be around you.”)

Tia, who is annoyed by baby Bekah’s “lack of seriousness” about this televised husband hunt, decides it’s her “duty” to tell Arie not to pick her. “I just feel like, she may be, like, on a different page than the rest of us,” says Tia, citing Bekah’s “lack of experience” with love. The Bachelor seems a little irked — “I wouldn’t harp too much on that” — and steers the conversation toward hometowns. Of course, producers aren’t about to let the topic go, so they urge Tia to go share her feelings about Bekah with Bekah herself. “I did, kind of, mention it to him that I feel like a lot of us are serious, and it makes me nervous to think that you could break his heart,” Tia says. “At the end of the day, he is looking for his wife.”

Bekah handles it well.

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Nice work, Tia — now you made Bekah ruin her mascara. She runs into Arie’s arms, sobbing about mean old Tia and her mean old opinions. “I just don’t like feeling like I’m being misunderstood,” huffs Bekah. Once she’s stopped bawling, Arie starts asking her about the “tough stuff,” including the fact that her parents were “opposed” to her doing the show. “They’re not, like, opposed to it, so much as just skeptical,” Bekah assures him (leaving out the fact that she apparently did not tell her mom she was doing the show). Did she do enough to earn one of those roses?

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“Okay, so it’s a two-on-one now,” drawls Tia grimly. Yes, Kendall received the first date rose, so now she gets to go home and await Arie’s arrival. As for Tia and Bekah, it’s time to get gussied up and go have an awkward three-person dinner. Tia wants Arie to know that her “love” for him grows deeper every time they see each other. Bekah wants Arie to know that she’s falling for him, and that she has “faith” in their relationship. So which sales pitch did the Bachelor buy? I think we all know the answer to that:

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Buck up, little Bekah. Go have some fun — you’ll have plenty of time to be disappointed in life.

Well, rose lovers, we have our final four! Who do you want to “win” it “all”? I’ll admit I’m pulling for Kendall, though it seems highly unlikely she’ll get Arie’s final rose. (Either way, I’m excited to meet her severe, lookalike sister next week.) Post your picks below! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog right here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go carbo-load for Bachelor Winter Games.

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